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Saturday, October 22, 2011

••◊ An Ever Green State of Mind, Part 4: Lake Quinault

So if two associated works are called a sequel and three works are called a trilogy, what do you call four? Maybe it's series, a journal, a sequence, or a serial? Usually in Hollywood an over-exploitation is referred to as a "franchise." I'm not sure. Whatever... this is part four.
After hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest we headed south along the coast for our overnight accommodations at the Lake Quinault Lodge, located just north of Aberdeen (hometown of the band Nirvana).  This nirvana was the real thing. 

When we arrived at the lodge we were told that the resort has Internet access, to which we both thought "why?"  It seemed like a luxury to get away from email, cell phone service, and television, i.e. all the things that contribute to our daily information overload.  So despite the ability to log on to the information super highway we both hesitated for peace of mind.  That being said, after surviving the pasta primavera at Sol Duc the cobbler with vanilla ice cream was a modern amenity I could totally dig.

The main lodge was built in 1926 and visited by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937.  He felt it was such a beautiful place to preserve that he initiated the Olympic National Park in 1938, putting many depression era citizens to work.  The restaurant in the main lodge (lower left of building in above photo) has the newspaper clipping showing his visit.

Another interesting feature is the rain gauge on the chimney in the middle of the building.  From the photo above it sort of looks like a totem pole, but really it's a rain gauge measuring up to 17' of rain!  This is a rain forest.

The beach front has your typical Washington rocky sand, but the stress relieving lake is welcoming after days of hiking.  You can grab a beach chair, take off your socks and cool your tired toes in the water.  The water helps with swollen feet and the rocks are more like acupressure at this point.

The next morning started off with the usual; my stomach telling me I had to get out of bed or face the wrath of the rumbling tummy.  I was one of only a handful of people at the restaurant that early in the morning (7am).  The lodge keeps bird feeders just outside the windows so you can watch Bluejays have their breakfast too.  I struck up a conversation with a woman sporting binoculars, figuring that she was likely a birder.  From her description it turns out that, despite their size, Bluejays are actually some of the most aggressive birds.  The morning feeding looked almost like a cage match with birds dive bombing each other, pushing others aside, and generally forgetting how to share.  It was like the official bird of Wall Street, but I digress...

The local hikes are only a few miles around and essentially start and stop across the street from the lodge, with trail heads just up and down the road a bit.  It's a climb.  What you don't see in the photos above is that the hills go up steeply behind the lodge, but that also means waterfalls. Obligatory nature photos shown below.  I wish I would have had more sunlight, but the sun decided to go away overnight leaving everything a flat saturated green color.

Our final quarter mile hike was to the world's largest spruce tree.  Mom is shown for scale.  If a spruce tree could take anabolic steroids, this might be the result.  When I went up to the tree so my mom could take a picture I realized that people had been climbing all over the roots and had worn away the lower bark.  Sad really.  I guess a tree can grow new bark, but people should still respect nature.  The tree does have a way of getting revenge!  I simply walked up to the base and leaned against it.  Sap was all over my back side necessitating a good butt brushing before getting back in the car.

The drive home was long. Very long. Internet, email, and production work was waiting back home. I find that after trips like this I have to re-adjust normality to involve more electronic doo-dads and impersonal communication. That's modern life.

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